#MenuMonday: Disease Fighting Foods

7 Must-Try Foods to Fight Disease

Heart Disease, Diabetes, Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Allergies, High Cholesterol…all words that plague the health field diagnosis spectrum. Unfortunately, many of these health conditions are all too familiar to us. If we ourselves have not been touched by at least one of these, we typically have a friend or family member that has. Luckily, the science that helps us determine signs of our current health is the very science that has found various natural remedies.

At the top of that remedy list: FOOD!

Superfoods to be more specific, these are nutrient-dense foods that have been discovered to have health benefits. It is inevitable that we must eat to survive, so why not consume foods that could potentially help us? Below is a list of 7 disease fighting superfoods worth adding to your grocery shopping list. However, know that these are not the only foods that have disease fighting abilities – try looking up your favorite foods to see what health benefits they may have!

 

1. ALFALFA SPROUTS

These tiny, white to green bean sprouts have a slight nutty flavor, are low in calories, and are essentially fat free. Alfalfa sprouts contain phytoestrogens that have been linked to help alleviate menopausal symptoms, as well as  phytochemicals that may help protect against cancer and help lower cholesterol.

Tip to Enjoy: Add some raw sprouts to your salads, sandwiches or a lean turkey burger.

 

2. BERRIES

Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries top the list of antioxidant-rich fruits. An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the production of free radicals which can lead to damage of cells in the body. Due to these berries’ antioxidant and vitamin-rich nature, they have been attributed to help protect against free radical damage related to cancer and cardiovascular  disease, improve anti-inflammatory responses, and improve the immune system. Blueberries specifically have been thought to help lower cholesterol and total blood fat levels in the body.

Tip to Enjoy: Try choosing a cup of berries as your evening snack or add them to your morning cereal or yogurt.

Did you know? Found in strawberries, raspberries and various other fruits and vegetables, Vitamin C, can be found on your Nutrition label as Ascorbic Acid.

 

3. APPLES

From sweet to sour, apples are a quick, on-the-go health snack. This fruit has soluble fiber called pectin which may help lower blood pressure, improve blood sugar levels, and reduce cholesterol levels. A powerful antioxidant found in apples has also been shown to have protective effects against cancer cell proliferation and can reduce cell oxidative stress.

Tip to Enjoy: Eat it whole and raw. Saute with cinnamon, honey, and pecans as a delicious dessert or topping for your favorite salad.

 

4. DARK LEAFY GREENS

Spinach, spring greens, kale, book choy and other dark lettuces are packed with phytochemicals and antioxidants that can reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes and may protect against certain forms of cancer. These greens are full of  nutrients including Iron, Vitamin C, Folate, Magnesium, and Beta-Carotene. Dark, leafy greens also contain calcium that helps with bone health related conditions like osteoporosis.

Tip to enjoy: Choose a spinach or spring mix salad instead of iceberg lettuce. Saute with garlic and onions and add to your pasta or rice.

 

superfoods-1
                                                       Source: Radiant

 

5. AVOCADOS

This fruit contains loads of fiber that can contribute to weight loss, improve blood sugar levels, and lower cholesterol. The soluble fiber that makes up approximately about a fourth of an avocado is said to feed the friendly gut bacteria in the intestine which aids in digestion and overall health. Avocados also contain healthy fats that help with inflammation and burn easily for energy.

Tip to Enjoy: Substitute your mayo or sandwich spread with an avocado spread. Add some avocado to your favorite salsa for a healthier snack option.

 

6. SWEET POTATOES

A relative of the potato, this bright orange vegetable may also be referred to as a yam. Sweet potatoes are rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene which improves eyesight, wards off cancer and protects against the effects of aging. These more nutritious potatoes are loaded with B6, which  is essential for assimilating protein and fat, making red blood cells and maintaining a healthy immune system thus aiding in anemia, depression and dermatitis. Sweet potatoes also contain fair amounts of Vitamin C, Magnesium, Potassium, Vitamin D, Calcium, and Iron.

Tip to enjoy: Try switching your white potato with this more nutritious option. Add a little cinnamon to the baked goodness as a sweet but healthy dessert.

Did you know? Vitamins and Minerals are stored in or just under the potato skin.

 

7. FISH

Omega-3 fatty acids are not produced by the body, so choosing foods like fish help us acquire these fats. Omega-3s have been proven to help reduce risk of heart disease and keep the brain healthy. Fish is also a great source of elan protein which can help in weight loss and maintaining muscle mass.

Tip to Enjoy: Saute a fillet of salmon in a pan with some lemon juice and light salt and pepper. Enjoy on top of bed of greens or rice.

 

Hippocrates said it best, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

 

 

– CASEY EDMONDS, CHC

 

 

Feature Image: Mamiverse